Tagged: Yogananda

The “reality” of religious ideals


Everyone could realize that Life is change, but not everyone could feel that “I” am Life itself.
Therefore change is my inherent “law.”
The apparently inoffensive statement above, has deeper ramifications.

“Mahatmaji,” I said as I squatted beside him on the uncushioned mat, “please tell me your
definition of ahimsa.” (Non-violence)
“The avoidance of harm to any living creature in thought or deed.”
“Beautiful ideal! But the world will always ask: May one not kill a cobra to protect a child, or one’s
“I could not kill a cobra without violating two of my vows- fearlessness, and non-killing. I would
rather try inwardly to calm the snake by vibrations of love. I cannot possibly lower my standards
to suit my circumstances.” With his amazing candor, Gandhi added, “I must confess that I could
not carry on this conversation were I faced by a cobra!”

The above extract is from the “autobiography of a Yogi” by Yogananda.

The above sounds beautiful.. It sounds like a marvelous example to follow: We have a definition of “something to live by.” We have a value system such as “fearlessness” and “non-killing” and we have a “set of standards” to live by.
The “I” thrives under those circumstances. It becomes a “bigger I.” 🙂

That is the way we have been taught: To follow an ideal of a value system and to stick with it no matter what.
Then, we look at our “standards” and then we make the decision to either follow the standards (good) or to “lower” them (bad.)
Isn’t that the “normal” “spiritual” teaching?

Gandhi cannot lower “his” standards. No matter what the circumstances are.
The above is a typical “black or white” mentality.

When we live life by ideals, we tend to cheat ourselves.
How is that?
Fearlessness is not a “standard.” We are “fearless” or we are not.
This is not a question of following a standard.

To be fearless is not a question of not being afraid. Not being afraid, is repression when feeling afraid.
That would be a lie.
Fearlessness comes from non-rejection of what we are experiencing at the moment and to re-direct that energy into strength, power.

A cobra may kill a mouse to eat it. The intention is survival.
Is the Cobra “bad” because it is not practicing “ahimsa” with the rodent?
If there is a colony of roaches in our home, shall we practice “ahimsa” with them?
Everything goes back to the intention not an “ideal.”

“Vibrations of love” is not something to be “practiced” when needed, but it happens naturally when we are conscious of being that love.
It is not a solution to shoo away the Cobra, but merely a way of embracing an experience, that is our attitude, our perspective.

At the end of the road, we should know that there is no such a thing as dying, for everything recycles again; therefore, “killing” is an action with repercussions, but if non-killing is put as a value to pursue, all we are doing is increasing our ego “value” in the face of the reality of Life. As we breathe, we kill.

When pretending to be “good” is forgotten, then we could observe the reality of exactly who we are. Just like a Tiger may act in different ways according to the settings and circumstances, without a trace of cowardice. A human being does not allow himself to bend and to bow down to the circumstances in Life, but rather fights to keep “his” ideals as a wonderful thing…
When we live Life from the head and thinking, those ideals are important. We get prizes, medals and ovations. We could even be called “saints” or “great souls.”

When we live Life from the heart, all we can show at every moment is who we are. No make-up of values and ideals will be needed.
What we get is “nothing” but a good sleep. “Nothing” but enjoyment of Life. “Nothing” but the opportunity to “BE.”

Observe how Gandhi realized that one thing is to “talk beautifully” about ideals, values and what “we should do and what we shouldn’t” and another thing is to act right there, without rehearsals when the experience comes into our lives.

At that point, only what we ARE will show. Nothing else.

The game of going away just to come back


Can you change yourself?
Can you ask for God’s mercy to change yourself?

Our society is training us to lack complete awareness of our internal relationship with everything that is.
It is in that ignorance how we have developed a society of “pushers” to “get what we want” or “effort makers” in “Spirituality.”

I need to use the “right” terminology to be understood. “Spirituality” means nothing, but when I convey those magic words, there are some ears trained already to listen to those words.

“Spirituality” is not separated from living life, from “mundane” everyday tasks. Going to the bathroom to “do our business” is as divine as having the greatest meditation by the Taj Mahal. All experiences, all good.

It is our mind who has been trained by traditions and beliefs to make differences and to select certain aspects of life as “elevated” and others as “low.”

Again is the duality “business,” which does not allow us to see something greater than our continuous dichotomies.

Because we have created our own little world with rules and regulations, moral standards and values; we believe that Life follows the same. We believe in our separation from Life, that we could change Life to fit our whims.

I hear: “If life pushes you aside, push even harder…don’t give up.” It is that mentality which continues the trip of complete lack of awareness. In top of that, we want for a God to “help us,” to be in our side of “righteousness.” 🙂

Do you want to be a “good man”?
Have you followed Yogananda’s steps? Have you embraced a guru? Is your search for God aimed at experimenting the powerful bliss that Yogananda experienced so you too have that same experience? Or are you looking for some magical powers to be called a “saint” or “self-realized” and to be worshiped and praised for that?

That is the spiritual egotistical mind.

The answer to “achieve” that is: “You have to make effort. Austerities, penances, follow a list of “do not’s,” follow the guru, become involved in some religion, help others, etc.”

All of that is of no use by itself when we lack awareness. It becomes a “monkey sees, monkey does” type of activity.

To follow the life experience of person is not the rule of “sainthood” to be followed by everyone else.
Because everyone has different experiences in life. Everyone comes equipped with different “tools” and different needs.

Do we want to “act like a saint”?
Actions by itself are not the benchmark of “sainthood” but our feelings brought about by our intentions in life.
Intentions are not thoughts. Intentions are what we truly are, when there is no make up of being “politically correct” devised by our minds.

When we allow for life to shape us through the assimilation of the different experiences that come along, then we could start to understand how consciousness changes all by itself without our willful intervention, but that change happens in a very subtle way as not to hurt the one who is changing.

The issue appears when we force things because we want things quickly, when we want to “fight with life” to “look out for number one,” it is at that point when the separation, the rupture happens and then a new lesson will arrive trying to teach us the art of balance.
The teacher is known as sorrow. Our society has taught us to reject it.

Because we continue in our ways without understanding the language of life, our experience of suffering will increase. That is not “bad,” for when the limit is reached, then we finally “give up.” It is at that point, when an inner “empty” space is created, and we become “open” to newness. Not before.

There cannot be true personal change by following a method however “holy” it may be, for otherwise we become dependent on that method. The method is useful up to a point, but then it needs to go away, just like everything in Life.

Life is change in itself. If we align with that change…We will change. 🙂 Nevertheless our “pushy ways” will not allow for that to happen and our search for “ways to change,” for methods, CDs and Gurus will take us outside of ourselves.

That is not “bad.” We go away just to come back. That is the name of the game.

It is the process of going slowly back to the self once we have finished exploring what is “out there,” just to let the self go away.

The belief of renunciation


Renunciation is used as a “tool” from many belief systems. That tool is supposed to allow the aspirant to gain a “higher state of consciousness.”

In the world of duality, to renounce what is considered to be “mundane” and “pleasurable” has been translated as “evolved,” “high,” “divine.”

It is just a game of words.

I remember a book which introduced the concept of renunciation in my younger perception: “The autobiography of a Yogi” by Yogananda.

That book describes many of the unique experiences that Yogananda had. Those experiences were interpreted according to Yogananda’s beliefs at the time.

In that context to become a “renunciate” is the highest path. From that “concept” many have copied it.

For Yogananda, to practice his path of what he understood as renunciation was natural. It is what he was meant to do.
Therefore, there was no renunciation in his life.

Many”seekers” started following that idea of “renunciation.” They needed a “guru” to follow and some especial practices to become “better.” Thus for these people to “renounce” became a source a repression, for this path was not natural to them. They had to “make effort.”

Ananda would like to share one of his most cherished realizations in life.
There is no established path or religion or philosophy or teaching which when followed by itself, to the dot, 100% is able to return a higher state of consciousness.

Consciousness does not change by following a certain method or by doing a “holy” practice.

Consciousness changes all by itself when we are ready according to our assimilation of the experiences offered in life. In short, greater openness to life, means greater awareness thus, less ego.

Renunciation is duality. To select something as “divine” and another thing as “mundane” is duality, and because there is duality; there cannot be integration with the Totality.

It is that separation between what is “godly” and what is not which brings a person into a state of self-righteousness, which is an illusion.

There is no such a thing as the “true” way when we are dealing with perceptions of what we call “reality.”
We could name anything as “reality” but that is not, for all we could observe is a perception.

Do we want for God or a guru to tell us about the “highest reality” there is, which we are not able to experience?

That is a belief, for “what is” cannot be put into words.

The highest, the lowest, the pure, the impure, the rich the poor… are all dualities which are static “realities” in a mind which is incapable of seeing change and continuous transformation of everything.
“Reality” is not a picture but a movie.
We can describe with words a still picture with details, but not a changing movie.

Because everything changes continuously there is no “arrival” or destination.
Therefore, to renounce life as it presents itself, just so we can accommodate ourselves to our belief or dogma, is to deny ourselves to transform, to change, to evolve.

What is that change that we deny to ourselves?
To live Life.

To renounce part of life to the pursue of a “higher” destination is senseless, when we realize that there is never a static point, a destination.

To renounce part of life due to a belief that we will attain something better in the future is to ignore completely that rejection is hidden in renunciation.
When there is rejection there cannot be oneness.
Without oneness, there is no love.
Without love, there is no joy.